Film Review | The Age of Stupid



Review by Alyssa Ballinger Johnson.

The Age of Stupid Global Premiere Trailer from Age of Stupid on Vimeo.

I feel different after watching The Age of Stupid. I feel…. stupid. In the film, Pete Postlethwaite plays an archivist living in 2055, who puts together a montage of news footage documenting the “Age of Stupid” (i.e. now): the time when we still could have prevented a runaway global greenhouse, but didn’t take it seriously enough. The idea is based on sound science, science which is easily digested via clever animations and a killer soundtrack.

Even more valuable was the mocking portrayal of well-meaning people who don’t see the whole picture. Jeh Wadia has a grand vision of ending poverty by providing cheap flights for thousands of Indians who normally travel by train, which uses 90% less energy. Piers Guy tries to convince provincial neighborhoods in the UK to install wind farms, only to be blocked by locals who are worried that the turbines will ruin their view and lower property values. A woman who has just come from fighting the turbines says, “of course we’re worried about climate change; absolutely”, as if insulted by the question. Despite some hypocrisy, nobody comes across as a villain (although some, like Guy, are clearly heroes). The film leaves you with no excuses, and makes you realize that you, even with your reusable water bottle and hybrid car, are part of the age of stupid. You feel stupid, but not alone. You also don’t want to be mocked by an archivist in 2055. You want to take action.

The film embraces that there is no easy solution, no clear bad guys to fight, and that we need to approach the problem in any way we can. At the ridiculously low-carbon premier, director Franny Armstrong launched both 10:10 and NotStupid.org. 10:10 promotes reduction of carbon on an individual basis, while NotStupid.org is a guide to influencing political action. The film was released in preparation for the UN climate summit in Copenhagen in December.
Since the DVD is in UK format, it’s going to be hard for Americans to watch this film before the copenhagen summit. The DVD will not be released to the US until January 2010. Although some of us were lucky enough to catch the live premier on 9/21, anyone interested in hosting another screening can go to www.indiescreenings.net.

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